Queenstown’s Cafe hangs up race skis

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Queenstown Winter Olympian Tim Cafe has announced his retirement from competitive alpine ski racing. 

The 26-year-old represented New Zealand in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, finishing 38th in the Super-G – the best result of any Kiwi alpine skier at the games. 

Cafe: “I decided a couple of weeks ago that I’m officially retired. 

“I waited to see the Olympic criteria but it’s such that in order to qualify you have to be full-time into it. That’s the standard they’ve set,” Cafe says. 

“There are a couple of younger skiers on the national team, along with Ben Griffin who was at the last Olympics with me, who are still totally shooting for it and all the best to them. 

“I don’t want to try and restrict their spots and I’d love to see them do well and get there.” 

Cafe began skiing at Coronet Peak when he was three years old. 

He went on to win the Australian and NZ Cup (ANC) Super G and Super Combined races at Mt Hutt in 2008, recording 26 Inter­national Ski Federation (FIS) points. He also finished second at the ANC finals in 2011. 

The Queenstown racer also had the honour of skiing while holding the Olympic flame during the torch relay in 2000. 

One of New Zealand’s best-known skiers, Cafe is now dedicating his time to coaching overseas and with the Queenstown Alpine Ski Team. 

“As an athlete, the hardest thing is that once you lose that drive and that end goal of becoming a top athlete, you sort of feel very lost. 

“Finding another passion or a way of channelling your energy, which is what I’ve found through coaching, makes everything a lot easier. 

“It was a hard decision to come to but I did it at a slow enough rate that I’m actually very content with it. 

“I tried to balance competition and coaching overseas but found if I wasn’t going absolutely 100 per cent competing I couldn’t reach the level I wanted to.”